Current Status + Progress
Around 120 million girls under the age of 20 (about 1 in 10) have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point in their lives. Boys are also at risk, although a global estimate is unavailable

Sexual violence is one of the most unsettling of children’s rights violations. As such, it is the subject of dedicated international legal instruments aimed at protecting children against its multiple forms. Acts of sexual violence, which often occur together and with other forms of violence, range from direct physical contact to unwanted exposure to sexual language and images. ‘Sexual violence’ is often used as an umbrella term to cover all types of sexual victimization, including exploitative as well as non-exploitative forms.[i]

Sexual violence against girls

Forced sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual coercion are not uncommon in the lives of many girls
Percentage of girls aged 15 to 19 years (or otherwise noted) who experienced forced sexual intercourse or any other forced sexual acts, ever (including in childhood) and in the last 12 months

Notes: Data on the proportions of girls who experienced forced sexual intercourse or any other forced sexual acts in the last 12 months are only available for a selection of countries. Data for the Democratic Republic of the Congo refer to girls aged 18 to 19 years who experienced only forced sexual intercourse. Data for Côte d’Ivoire refer only to ever-married girls aged 15 to 19 years; there are no lifetime prevalence data available for the country. Data for the Plurinational State of Bolivia and Ecuador include only forced sexual intercourse. In El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Paraguay, sexual violence committed by a spouse or partner among ever-married girls included forced sexual intercourse or agreeing to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to for fear of what their partner might do; sexual violence committed by anyone among all girls and women included only forced sexual intercourse. Data for Colombia include only girls raped by someone other than a spouse or partner. Data for Jamaica refer to girls and women aged 15 to 24 years who experienced only forced sexual intercourse. Zeroes appearing in the figure do not necessarily mean that there were no victims of sexual violence in these countries but rather that the estimates came to 0 after rounding.

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) and other nationally representative surveys, 2004-2013.

Sexual violence against boys

Boys also report experiences of sexual violence, but to a lesser extent than girls
Percentage of boys aged 15 to 19 years who experienced forced sexual intercourse or any other forced sexual acts, ever (including in childhood) and in the last 12 months

Notes: Data on the proportions of boys who experienced forced sexual intercourse or any other forced sexual acts in the last 12 months are not available for the Plurinational State of Bolivia; lifetime prevalence data for this country refer to forced sexual intercourse only.

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on DHS, 2007-2011.

Age at first experience of sexual violence among girls

A significant proportion of adolescent girls were first-time victims of sexual violence before age 15
Percentage distribution of girls aged 15 to 19 years who ever experienced forced sexual intercourse or any other forced sexual acts, by age at first incident of the violence

Note: Data for Comoros are based on 25-49 unweighted cases.

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on DHS, 2005-2013.

Age at first experience of sexual violence among boys

In Kenya and Zimbabwe, most men say their first incident of sexual violence took place before age 16
Percentage distribution of men aged 18 to 24 years who experienced physically forced intercourse or coerced intercourse, attempted unwanted intercourse or unwanted sexual touching, by age at first incident of the violence

Note: Data for the United Republic of Tanzania refer only to the mainland and do not include Zanzibar.

Source: UNICEF global databases, 2014, based on the VACS from Kenya (2010), the United Republic of Tanzania (2009) and Zimbabwe (2011).


[i] United Nations Children’s Fund, Preventing and Responding to Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation: Evidence review, UNICEF, New York, 2014 (forthcoming).

Access The Data
Sexual violence prevalence among girls and boys aged 15 to 19 yearsDownload Data
Methodology

For further details, see: United Nations Children’s Fund, Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children, UNICEF, New York, 2014.